Access to clean soap and water may not just protect kids from germs and bacteria, Medical News Today reports that it may also improve their growth and increase their height.

Researchers from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, together with the charitable institution WaterAid, analyzed 14 studies that involved 9,469 children below 18 years old. The studies delved into water access, sanitation, and hygiene, and how they could affect the physical growth of children.

Based on their anaylsis, researchers found that kids below five years old with regular access to clean water and soap had a 0.5 centimeter (cm) increase in height growth compared with those who don’t. In fact, the simple act of hand washing has been found to reduce the risk of stunted growth in kids up to 15 percent.

Of course, stunted growth does not only affect height, as it has long-term effects on kids’ overall physical health as well. To lower your children's risk of developing any health problems, you should train your kids to keep clean in and outside the house. Regular bathing and proper hand washing can go a long way in protecting their health.

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(Photo by MIKI Yoshihito via Flickr Creative Commons)

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